Mount Vesuvius stared at me as I floated away from the Port of Naples.
I carried my bags through the top deck, and tripped on an elderly gent who was laying on the floor. “Ahhhh!” he says to me, and delivered a classic Neapolitan hand gesture that I was quickly becoming accustomed to.
There was a classy lookin’ brunette
nearby, and I sat down next to her. She was jabberin’ away on the phone so I pulled out a little red wine that I had tucked away in my bag. I should have been out the deck enjoying the view, but I’d have several more opportunities as Ischia was only one hour away by ferry.
The brunette wrapped up her phone call and I questioned her about Ischia in Italian. “You’re American,” she says to me.
“Yes, I am. That makes this easier.”
“Oh, does it?”
“Hey, some old Neapolitan guy tried to swindle me at the port. He kept asking for a cigarette, and insisted that I put my bags down. Why do I need to put my bags down? Take a cigarette. I’ll hold my bags. You smoke, I stand – we’re all happy.
“Hey…that’s not how you talk to a girl, ok? And you should get used to that. Naples is a wonderful city, an-”
“Yeah, I know it is, but he kept talking about how I’m an American. I’m his friend. I should put my bags down. I’m not trying to get robbed.”
“Did you put your bags down?”
“Did anything happen?
“Well, it appears you experienced a polite welcome to Naples.”
Giuliana received a call from her “boyfriend” (Napoli Fail), and we said our goodbyes at the port of Casamicciola Terme.
The port was beautiful. I had stared at pictures for weeks, and Casamicciola looked exactly how I imagined it to be.
I pulled out my international cell and rang up the ‘rents. They had e-mailed my hosts to let them know I was on the way. Within minutes I realized how small the town was, and it was only about 5 or 6 PM so I has plenty of time to find my hosts. The atmosphere was much different than Naples. I walked along the Main Street down the port and questioned the locals about Casa Della Vela. A few older folks didn’t know what the hell I was talkin’ about, but another beer-guzzling character knew where to go. “Topless bar,” he chuckled.
“Topless bar? Casa Della Vela? Am I WWOOFing at a strip club?
The old man explained that I needed to walk towards the bar and take a right. It was a hot one in Ischia, and I was beginning to sweat profusely as I carried my bags around Casamicciola Terme. Over the course of the next three months I would scrap half of my clothes, which ended up being all that I has left (and a makeshift cigarette pack wallet).
I couldn’t find “Casa Della Vela,” and it was apparently only a few blocks up from the port. A middle-aged lady spotted me and ended up walking me down the street to my temporary home. There were several flights of steps leading up to the building, and I was about to find out how awesome my new home was. I could already tell that my first WWOOF “farm” was going to be much more than I was expecting. I wiped the sweat off my face and made my way up the steps.
The door was open. I walked in and there was a man at the front desk writing.
“Excuse me? Are you Andrea?
I has been e-mailing over the months with my host Andrea and his wife Kate, and said that I would be there on April 30th, 2012. There I was one day early – a sweaty mess. I’ll never forget Andrea’s look of surprise.
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